Guarding Minds @ Work 2.0

GM@W is a response to current and emerging legal requirements in Canada for the protection of employee mental health and the promotion of civility and respect at work. Legal standards increasingly require employers to develop comprehensive strategies for ensuring a psychologically safe workplace. Prudent employers need to develop policies and programs that meet these new legal standards.

GM@W provides the following:

  • An explanation of the concept of psychological safety and health.
  • The business, legal and health case for why this is critically important to all Canadian employers.
  • Practical, user-friendly tools designed specifically to measure the psychological safety and health of your workplace.
  • Concrete actions that you can take to improve the psychological safety and health of your workplace.
  • Tools to evaluate whether what you‘ve done works

In 2012, GM@W was revised to improve access and utility and to ensure consistency with the National Standard on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace. These modifications included inclusion of a new factor to reflect the impact of the physical environment on psychological health, clarification of terms and updating of the standardization sample. In addition, a collaborative agreement was established with the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety in order to provide more timely operational user support in both official languages.

In 2009, a consensus conference in Vancouver called for the creation of a National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace.  It was recognized that GM@W could play a key role in providing organizations with the tools to achieve measurable improvement in the psychological health and safety of Canadian employees. A committee comprised of health and safety professionals, labour representatives, executives, government representatives, experts in law and policy and other representatives collaborated to develop the Standard. This incorporated many of the elements of GM@W however, differed from GM@W in some ways, notably in the inclusion of an additional factor intended to assess the workplace environment and determine the degree to which the employer is taking reasonable and effective action to protect employees from hazards and risks in the physical environment that may impact their physical and psychological health and safety. In addition, there was feedback from public consultation that suggested some modification in GM@W terminology and phrases. Lastly, feedback from users of GM@W indicated that there were aspects of the resource that could be improved in order to enhance current and future user understanding, access and ease of use.

In order to respond to these issues, key CARMHA personnel undertook a major revision and update of GM@W. These included the following activities:

  • Development of new items, based on the latest research available, in order to comprise a new factor (hereafter Factor 13), to assess the workplace environment and determine the degree to which the employer is taking reasonable and effective action to protect employees from hazards and risks in the physical environment that may impact their physical and psychological health and safety.

  • Revision of the GM@W Survey by including the new Factor 13 items, updating the terminology, as well as updating the survey to be consistent with current research findings. All original authors had an opportunity and provide input on the updated version of the Survey. The survey was included in an Ipsos-Reid national survey of 4307 working Canadians across a nationally representative sample of industries and geographical regions. This data was used to determine updated norms for analysis and reporting of survey results derived by organizational users.

  • Updating the language and structure of GM@W documents and web content to enhance the clarity and ease of use of the resource.  This included creation of new actions to help employers address Factor 13. All authors had an opportunity and provide input on the updated version of GM@W. Content was then translated into French with input from Quebec-based content experts.

  • The GM@W website was reprogrammed to include the new content and normative data. This involved programming to reflect new cut-off scores determined on the basis of the revised Ipsos-Reid data.

  • Finally, operational support for GM@W was shared with the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS). CARMHA and CCOHS signed a Memorandum of Understanding intended to optimize access, utility and follow-through of GM@W. CCOHS (www.ccohs.ca) is national, not-for-profit organization, governed by a tripartite Council – representing government, labour and employers. They provide information, training, education, management systems and solutions that support health, safety and wellness programs.

GM@W 2.0 was launched in anticipation of the launch of the National Standard on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace on January 16th, 2013.

Project Team:

Gilbert, M., PhD;
Bilsker, D., PhD;
Shain, M., SJD;
Samra, J., PhD.

Partners:

GM@W was commissioned by the Great-­West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace, funded by Great-­West Life Assurance Company through The Key to Giving national corporate citizenship program of Great-­West Life, London Life and Canada Life. Website Design and data collection and storage conducted by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety.

Contact Info:

Merv Gilbert (mervvgilbert@gmail.com

Resources:

2012